Friday 26 May 2017

Sturridge flies back to US for treatment to end injury nightmare

Daniel Sturridge's history of injuries has ensured Liverpool will be looking to significantly reinforce their strike force during the summer
Daniel Sturridge's history of injuries has ensured Liverpool will be looking to significantly reinforce their strike force during the summer

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is heading back to the United States for treatment on the hip problem that is likely to rule him out for the rest of the season.

Sturridge has missed the majority of the campaign with an assortment of injuries, and now Liverpool's owner, Fenway Sports Group, has arranged further assessments at the home of the Boston Red Sox.

The striker was in New England last Christmas as he sought to overcome a thigh injury. He also spent time in Los Angeles as FSG tried to get one of its prized assets back on the field. Sturridge may require a minor operation to cure the latest problem, which forced him out of their FA Cup semi-final and the faltering effort to qualify for the Champions League.

At the very least manager Brendan Rodgers will be hoping Sturridge is 100pc fit for pre-season, although his history of injuries has already ensured the club will be looking to significantly reinforce their strike force during the summer.

As the club plan their investment, efforts to sign Manchester City's James Milner on a free transfer will be complicated if they fail to secure European qualification.

Having targeted the Champions League, Rodgers's side are in danger of missing out completely on Uefa competition as they compete with Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur to be the best of the also-rans.

Milner has been considering his options as his contract expires this summer and his priorities are understood to be regular first-team football and to remain in the North West.

Although Champions League participation, or lack of it, was not thought to be a deal-breaker, the prospect of finishing out of the European places could have an impact.

Liverpool have always been confident of signing Milner, with the 29-year-old seen as an ideal, versatile midfielder to fit into whatever formation Rodgers settles on.

Milner is attracted by the idea of playing in central midfield, with Steven Gerrard's departure creating a vacancy. For Liverpool, the chance to capture an international player on a free transfer, albeit on a salary of around £100,000 a week, would enhance the squad.

Liverpool are making a habit of signing ex-Manchester City players, having done so every season since appointing two of the club's former scouts to their transfer committee.

Barry Hunter and Dave Fallows have used their Etihad contacts book to sign Daniel Sturridge in January, 2013, Kolo Toure in July 2013, Mario Balotelli last August 2014 and, potentially, Milner in July 2015.

Meanwhile, Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan has undergone further knee surgery as his injury nightmare shows no sign of easing. Flanagan, who has missed the whole season to date, had hoped to feature in one of the final games, but he now faces six to nine months on the sidelines.

Despite his recent return to training, he has continued to suffer with the knee problem and, after further specialist advice, has been forced to accept he needs further surgery. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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